Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Thomas Mann’s Hands

Thomas Mann, 1946

Market Strategies and German Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century by Tobias Boes (De Gruyter, 2020) was recently published online. In the essay “Thomas Mann’s Hands: Literature as Art and Profession in the German Fin de Siècle and the U.S. Middlebrow” Boes writes of Yousuf Karsh’s 1946 sitting with Thomas Mann, at Mann’s home in Pacific Palisades, California, for LIFE magazine. “There was one picture in particular that won the attention of the photographer and of his sitter: a close-up of Thomas Mann’s hands.”

Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. While we don’t have a digitized copy of the picture in question, the aforementioned hands are beautifully defined above in another photograph from the sitting.